Fishing for salmon and steelheads using floats is an effortless way of fishing. It is instrumental and is one of the ideal techniques used by a lot of people, including professionals. However, some steps must be followed to make sure that the whole fishing exercise is fully effective. Bear in mind that the advantage of this technique of fishing is that you have total control of how your tackle would be presented. However, let us look at other benefits of using the float fishing technique

  • Floats are quite easy to cast, and tackles usually sink in line with the float. Knowing the location of your float also tells you where the tackle is, and you have the assurance that your tackle is directly under the float.
  • It enables you to hit small pockets and also fish upstream unlike some other techniques that do not allow you to do these.
  • You have full control of the depth of the tackle in the water column. The tackle would begin to drag or hang up usually when it gets to the bottom of the water, and this enables you to know where the bottom is to make adjustments. Control is of utmost importance because steelheads usually get suspended in the water, and fishing under a float is one way to lure them to the bait.

Float Fishing Method

To effectively use the float fishing method, you would have to learn the basics. The basics ensure that you get useful results because most times mistakes happen due to insufficient knowledge of the technique.

So if you are ready to learn the basics, you would have to continue reading. Those that know the basics should not continue reading, as this would serve as a memory refresher.

Bear in mind that there isn’t any best approach in fishing for steelhead, and most professionals usually employ some techniques at the same time.


The equipment used for float fishing is arranged according to their position in the water column from top to bottom.


for starters, it is safer to use cheaper floats made of foam. A float is the most expensive part of the system, and you would most likely lose it while fishing. Just ensure that you know the size of the float that you are using because the float size has to match the weight of the system.

A standard rule for float weight of floats used in rivers is about half an Oz to a quarter Oz, although there are a few exceptions. Some fishers use 3/8 Oz in some cases.

Bobber Stop:

the bobber stop is the device used to control the depth with a float. It is the first piece of the system that goes into the mainline. When attaching the bobber stop to the mainline, you have to ensure it is appropriately done else you would not be able to slide it up and down the mainline.

Slip the black tube up the mainline, pull it out and off, and then throw it out. You should throw it out in the trash and not in the bank. Then grab each end of the string and pull very tightly. In case of excess, you can trim it off.

Once that is completed, you can now slide the bobber stop up and down the mainline to adjust the depth of your fishing. The most important factor here is that you must be able to see the bobber stopper because the float might not slide up to it for some reasons that you might not be able to explain. If this ever happens, reel it in and make adjustments.


the weight comes before the swivel and is usually a bit heavier or equal to the weight of the float. One of the things to consider is that the total amount of weight under the float must be similar to the floats rating.

Please also note that floats are different, and this rule might not apply to some. One other consideration is that people prefer fishing at different weights, and you would decide whichever one works for you as you progress. Some people add a bead below their weight to prevent it from slipping downwards and getting tangled.


the swivel ideal for float fishing is usually the barrel swivel, but you can still work with whatever you have. Use a standard fishing knot here such as a simple improved clinched knot.

The Bead:

the primary function of the bead is to prevent the float from sliding up to the bobber stopper, and causing damages from tangling in it. The bead is the next part added to the mainline although it is not usually attached to floats such as the Beau Mac.


the leader is the other device tied to the swivel at the other end. The leader must be lighter than the mainline. It is so to ensure that the leader breaks before the mainline. Just in case there is a snag on the leader that you cannot get off.

You are assured that you would only lose the leader than losing the whole system. It would save you money but reduce your downtime re-rigging.


there are different tackles usable under a float, and a jig comes in handy when you are not using bait. It is safe to say that starters should start with a jog instead of a bait.

Final Word

Once you have every one of the pieces in place and a complete system, you can now start fishing. The first thing about fishing is finding the right spot. The ideal spot for float fishing is about 3 to 10 feet deep. And a water speed similar to a walking pace.

Steelheads tend to stay at the bottom of the water, so it is safer to fish deeper. Once you’ve found the right, cast in your float fishing system. Bear in mind that you have to keep your line tight to avoid losing gear.

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